I have to admit that I have a photographic addiction: color. Color makes my heart race more than any drug ever could and, well, it just makes me happy. I truly get that photography is all about the light but I love the emotion color adds to a photo. It’s one thing if you have a good photo but if you can also draw in some colors that complement each other, it just sends the image over the top.
I always think of backgrounds when I am shooting, especially with people. If at all possible, try to move and get your shot so that the background color complements the clothing that your subject is wearing. Sometimes all is takes is walking to the other side of the person or moving down. Walking through some towns and festivals in China I have to say that at first it wasn’t easy to isolate people in general. With the number of people in China, this should come as no surprise. But once I found somebody I would take a few seconds and chart out where to stand to put an ideal/complementary color behind him or her. Figuring this out beforehand ended up saving a lot of time.
At a horse game in China this summer when there wasn’t any action to photograph I walked around and photographed some of the local people watching the game. This girl’s red dress stood out. All around her was clutter: an old building, lots of people, etc. From one angle, however, if I stood on the very tips of my toes, I could almost get a full sea of green behind her. I shot the photo at 5.6 to keep some detail in the jewelry but luckily I still had my 70-200 with a teleconverter so I (ending up at 400mm) which helped to blur the leaves a bit behind her even at 5.6.
I adjusted levels and brought the exposure down in Aperture along with cropping the image (her mom was standing pretty close to her). In Photoshop I blurred the background even more, worked on a couple of blown out areas on her earrings, cloned out a few spots and added a Kodak Kodachrome 25 filter. I reduced the opacity so I wouldn’t get too insane with the color.
Photo Info: Nikon D4, 70-200mm plus a 2x teleconverter at 400mm, f5.6, 1/320, -.33EV